The fall of Jerusalem
1 Zedekiah was twenty-one years old when he became king and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem. His mother, Hamutal by name, was the daugh ter of Jeremiah from Libnah.
2 He did evil in the sight of Yahweh just as Jehoiakim had done. 3 All that happened in Jerusalem and Judah came about because of Yahweh’s anger until the day when he drove them out of his sight.
3 Zedekiah rebelled against the king of Baby lon; 4 so in the ninth year of Zede kiah’s reign, on the tenth day of the tenth month, Nebu chadnezzar king of Babylon marched with his entire army and laid siege to Jerusalem. They camped outside the city and built siege works all around it. 5 The city was under siege up to the eleventh year of Zede kiah.
6 On the ninth day of the fourth month famine became a serious problem in the city, and throughout the land there was no bread for the people. 7 When the city was opened by a breach in the wall the Judean army fled. They left the city by night through the gate between the two walls near the king’s garden. While the Chal deans were still surrounding the city they fled towards the Ara bah. 8 The Chal deans followed in hot pursuit of King Ze dekiah. They caught up with him in the plains of Jericho. All his army deserted and scattered.
9 The Chaldeans seized the king and led him away to Riblah in the territory of Hamath and there the king of Babylon passed sentence on him. There at Riblah, the king of Babylon slaughtered the sons of Zedekiah in his presence and also killed all the officials of Judah. 10 He then put out the eyes of Zedekiah, bound him with a double bronze chain and took him to Babylon. 11 He was imprisoned there in the house of the guards until the day of his death.
12 On the tenth day of the fifth month in the nineteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, Nebuzaradan commander of the body guard and servant of the king of Babylon, entered Jerusalem and set fire to the House of Yahweh and the royal palace as well as to all the houses in Jerusalem. 13 He also burned every important building. 14 The Chal dean army under the com mander of the bodyguard completely demolished all the walls around Jerusalem.
15 Nebuzaradan commander of the body guard carried off into exile some of the poorest among the people, the remnant of Jews left in the city, and those who had deserted to the king of Babylon and the remainder of the artisans. 16 But Ne buzaradan left behind those among the very poor who were capable of working in vineyards and cultivating the soil.
17 The Chaldeans broke into pieces the bronze pillars, the stands and the bronze Sea in the House of Yahweh and carried off all this bronze to Babylon.
18 They also took the pots, shovels, wick trimmers, the spoons and all the bronze articles used in the temple service. 19 The commander of the bodyguard took the basins, censers, sprinkling bowls, pots, lamp stands, ladles and bowls – all that was made of gold or silver.
20 The two pillars, the Sea and the twelve bronze bulls underneath it, the movable stands which King Solomon had made for the House of Yahweh – all this bronze was of an immeasurable weight.
21 The pillars were each eighteen cu bits high with a circumference of twelve cubits. Each had a thickness of four fingers and was hollow. 22 On the top of each pillar was a bronze capital five cubits high and above this and around the capital was filigree work with pomegranates in bronze. 23 Ninety-six pomegranates hung down and in all the filigree decoration there was a total of a hundred pomegranates.
24 The commander of the bodyguard took captive Seraiah the chief priest and Zepha niah the next priest in rank, as well as three doorkeepers.
25 He also took from those in the city a eunuch in command of the fighting men, seven personal advisers to the king who were discovered in the city, 26 the com mander’s secretary responsible for military conscription and sixty of his men who were found in the city. Nebu zaradan took all these away to the king of Babylon at Riblah. 27 There at Riblah in the territory of Hamath the king of Babylon had them put to death. So Judah was taken captive and taken away from its own land.
28 This is the number of the population deported by Nebuchadnezzar: in the seventh year 3,023 Jews; 29 in the 18th year of Nebuchad nezzar 832 people from Jerusalem; 30 in his 23rd year 745 Jews deported by Nebuzaradan commander of the bodyguard – in all 4,600 people.
31 On the 25th day of the 12th month in the 37th year of the exile of Jehoiakin king of Judah, Evil-merodach king of Babylon, in the year he came to the throne pardoned Jehoiakin king of Judah and released him from prison. 32 He spoke kindly to him and gave him more honorable treatment than the other kings who were with him in Babylon. 33 Je hoiakin put aside his prisoner’s garment and for the rest of his life ate at the king’s table.
34 Day by day for as long as he lived he was maintained by the king of Baby lon.